For a while now deviantART, the online arts community portal, has been teasing it’s members and visitors with an “It’s coming..” campaign, touting an event to coincide with deviantART’s 10th anniversary on August 7th.
The event was the release of deviantART Muro, a new online digital painting and drawing application that works in the browser.
While online drawing and painting interfaces are nothing new, this one is different in that it is made entirely in HTML5, rather than the normal approach of creating these apps in Flash. For those of us interested in the technology, it’s a striking achievement, and the most impressive use of HTML5 I’ve seen to date.
For the casual user, the most relevant advantage of creating the app in HTML5 is that it can be used on the iPad (and presumably the iPhone, though the interface would be quite small).
Beyond that, it’s just a very nicely implemented online drawing an painting tool, well designed, fluid, and able to respond to pressure sensitive input from Wacom tablets. It’s sophisticated in other ways, the “Pro” version, available at the flip of a switch at the top of the interface, allows for the use of layers (image above, top).
There are a range of brush types, adjustments and a nicely functional, if small, color picker. Both the Basic and Pro version of the interface are available free. There is a feature to login in and purchase more advanced brushes.
Images can uploaded directly to deviantART if you have an account, or exported (from the “Image” menu) as PNG files.
There is a gallery of work done in the app that is still small, but growing. The deviantART community is largely devoted to art styles related to concept art, science fiction and fantasy, but you can get an ides of the range of styles that could be accomplished with the app. (Images above, below the interface: ‘loish, nuevemonos, ‘len-yan).
While not a substitute for a dedicated digital painting app on your computer, this in-browser app is impressive, fun to work with and an indication of even better things to come.
[Note: if you have trouble accessing the Muro interface, particularly in Firefox, please see this post’s comments, and let me know what your experience was.
If you encounter a request for a survey, my suggestion is to close the browser window and open another one and try again.]